Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister: Our Stand on North Macedonia EU Accession Is Not Veto
It is wrong to call the Bulgarian position on the Republic of North Macedonia a 'veto', stated Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva after a meeting with the Special Representative of the Republic of North Macedonia Vladimir Buchkovski.
Zaharieva explained that Bulgaria is ready to continue the talks on unresolved issues, but also to discuss an exit that will open the way for the Republic of North Macedonia for approval of the EU accession negotiation framework.
There is no doubt that we are at a delicate stage in our relations, our Foreign Minister pointed out, adding that at the heart of the Bulgarian position lies a non-performance of the 2017 treaty.
Something that hinders both sides is the lack of development and delay of Corridor 8 project, but during the Berlin process we showed that we can work together, Zaharieva stressed.
She wants, step by step, to restore trust between the two countries. We really give you a hand to find solutions and to open the way for new relationships based on trust, Zaharieva said.
Being a member of the EU means you have to stick to bilateral treaties, be friends with members of that family. It is unacceptable to discredit family members. We are ready, the whole government, to work and overcome mistrust, Zaharieva was adamant.
According to her, trust should be built between the two countries and less talk to the media on the part of politicians. Words alone are not enough anymore, deeds are required, insisted No.1 Diplomat of Bulgaria.
The problem, in the words, is that our neighbors are trying to escape the fact that we have a common history. Therefore, the practice of using the historical commission for political purposes should be stopped, Zaharieva called.
The problem, in her words, is that our neighbors are trying to escape the fact that we have a common history. Therefore, the practice of using the Historical Commission for political purposes should be stopped, Zaharieva called.
“My task will be to ensure coordination in the implementation of the Friendship Treaty, but we can change the work in our projects for the rapprochement of the two peoples, But we can change the work in our projects for the rapprochement of the two peoples, Buchkovski stressed in turn.
We cannot change history, but we can change the future, Butchkovski said further.
In Zaharieva's words, the aim of EU enlargement is to make the Union stronger, not weaker by bringing in unresolved bilateral issues.
Zaharieva reminded that the Bulgarian position is based on the non-compliance with the Treaty of 2017 and for at least a year and a half we have been alerting our neighbors to this. These are several things and I will focus on the most important of them: the unilateral blocking and politicization of the Historical and Educational Affairs Commission, administrative obstacles to Bulgarian business, informal support for individuals and organizations making claims for a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.
The anti-Bulgarian campaign, attempts to discredit Bulgaria by all organizations spreading false theses, one of which is that we have vetoed or that we are challenging the right to self-determination, or that because of Bulgaria Albania will be stopped on its way to EU, etc. are all untrue. They are not helping, but rather hindering the building of that trust, the Foreign Minister warned.
She is convinced that only a pragmatic, frank and well-intentioned approach will lead to overcoming the accumulated mistrust and will help catching up on lost time over the past at least 18 months. “We are reaching out to North Macedonia to find mutually acceptable and lasting solutions and to pave the way for new trust-based relations,” Zaharieva said.
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